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Articles / Applying to College / Should Senior with Perfect Math and Science Scores Take More Subject Tests?

June 26, 2012

Should Senior with Perfect Math and Science Scores Take More Subject Tests?

Question: In the fall I plan on applying to highly competitive schools to major in either science or engineering. I just received my SAT subject scores and I got 800 in Math II, 800 in Physics and 800 in Chemistry. I could still take one or two more tests in October. Do you think I should do so in order to diversify or does it look better to have a solid record in science and engineering? I'm guessing that I could probably score in the 700s in Literature and World History. Also, on the SAT I got 800 on CR. Does that help? It was my highest section score.

Good question! Your current scores are obviously outstanding, and you certainly don’t have to take additional Subject Tests, especially because you plan to major in science or engineering. But, as you already seem to realize, at the most selective colleges many of your “competitors” will be submitting scores in a broad range of areas … math, science, history, language, etc.


So … my vote would be to take one or two more tests outside of science and math, if you don’t think that this will push your senior stress-o-meter into the Danger zone. (And focusing on your senior classes and grades is far more important than test prep.)

Alternatively, if you have already taken AP exams in any areas besides science and math and done well on those exams, then the AP scores will show off your diverse talents and you can skip the extra Subject Tests and sleep in on those autumn Saturdays. :)

(posted 6/25/2012)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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